Minister Grace to meet with Cairns tourism reps on water safety

Water safety on the Great Barrier Reef will be in the spotlight next week when Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace meets with Cairns tourism repersentatives, following four snorkeling deaths in the last month.

Ms Grace said a renewed focus on snorkeling safety was needed in light of the recent deaths, the last occurring when a 75-year-old Japanese tourist lost her life on Moore Reef.

“Queensland has Australia’s strongest safety standards for the recreational water industry,” she said.

“We’re the only State or Territory that comprehensively regulates recreational diving and snorkeling.

“Our industry code of practice provides specific advice to operators on medical fitness, rescue, first aid and oxygen provision and other matters.”

Ms Grace this week met with Col McKenzie from the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators to discuss Queensland’s water safety regime for snorkeling operators.

“I look forward to meeting with Col again in Cairns next Wednesday, ahead of a wider industry safety roundtable in the New Year,” she said.

“Our aim is to ensure holiday makers and visitors are able to experience our magnificent reef safely, and we’ll continue to work with industry to ensure safety is always paramount.”

Ms Grace said Workplace Health and Safety Queensland provides reef visitors with a safety information brochure, published in 12 languages.

“This safety guide for snorkelers and divers includes an optional medical declaration and specific advice about using floatation devices, snorkeling with a buddy and following instructions from instructors,” she said.

“It’s an important safety tool and we’re open to considering any ideas that will help to keep our reef visitors safe.”

Media Contact: Martin Philip 0427 919 548